A Simple Morning Liturgy for Mothers

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Setting aside time every morning to grow your mind, soul, and faith is a wonderful way to begin every new day, especially for mothers. Before the demands of the day find their way into your mind, praying and spending time reading from inspirational books, poetry, and the Bible can set the tone for the rest of the day and allow you to center yourself on what is most important. In this post, I’m sharing how I established my own morning liturgy, how it has evolved, and ideas for making your own. 

What is a morning reading routine?

The word “liturgy” can conjure different ideas and meanings for different people. If you come from a more liturgical faith tradition, no doubt memories of church services come to mind. If you don’t have much background in liturgical practices, you may have a completely different idea about what liturgy means.  

While we may associate the idea of liturgy with specific denominations, in truth, all denominations have their own form of liturgy. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a customary repertoire of ideas, phrases, or observances.” Your church’s liturgy may include drums, guitars, and lyrics on overhead projectors, while your neighbor’s may consist of incense, candles, and corporate prayer. I have worshiped in churches that fall under both of these categories, and they do look very different, but each one is a form of liturgy that is beautiful to different people. 

A morning liturgy is a “repertoire” that you create for yourself to begin your days. I was first inspired to implement this practice by the idea of “morning time.” The idea behind morning time is quite simple: have a specific time set aside, usually before getting to lessons, for things that you’d like to include in your homeschool day like poetry, art, music, miscellaneous readings, things to memorize, etc., that are important to your family. Homeschooling moms, myself included, use morning time during our homeschool days to consolidate things that might otherwise get lost in a busy schedule or as a way to be more intentional about spreading the feast wide. 

It has worked extremely well in our homeschool, so a few years ago, I decided to try to work some kind of personal “morning time” into my day. And my morning liturgy was born. 

What are the benefits of a personal morning liturgy?

About three years ago, I read The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. One story that stuck with me was how Sally Clarkson’s children remembered her having a “quiet time” or devotional time with God each morning. It was a time when she was in a quiet space, maybe with a cup of coffee or tea, reading her Bible, and praying. 

This book wasn’t the first time this concept had presented itself to me as I grew up in churches and schools where personal devotional time was a high priority. For some reason, however (maybe more due to the early motherhood season of life that I was in at the time), how she explained it felt different to me. I appreciated the fact that she was not only leading by example for her kids in reading her Bible and praying but also taking time for herself. She knew she needed to feed her soul in this way, and she set this time aside expressly for that purpose.

Admittedly, my morning routine severely lacked any type of communion with God at this point in my life. For most of my life, I wasn’t a morning person, and devotional time had rarely worked its way into my AM hours. Before I had kids, I’d occasionally have a short devotional time in the afternoon when I made time for it, and over the year before my son’s birth, I managed to go through Beth Moore’s Whispers of Hope with friends, but that was the extent of it.

After my son came along, I spent a few months when he was very tiny listening to Brian Hardin read a portion of the Bible every day while I made breakfast. Often, though, I found myself getting through the entire recording and realizing I hadn’t heard a single word as I was focused on other things while it played.

Aside from that, reading the Bible and even having a time of purposeful prayer each day was sporadic at best during these years, even though I genuinely did want to do these things regularly. Honestly, when my son came along, having never really been around a small child for an extended amount of time before, I was just trying to figure out what in the world a day should look like for us. Attempting to include everything I felt needed to be included was overwhelming to my sleep-deprived brain. 

When my daughter was born three-and-a-half years later, my ability to be more intentional with my time became even less, and the most I could manage was praying the daily offices from Phyllis Tickle’s Divine Hours series. It was at least something to center me back on God a few times a day, and I was so thankful (and still am!) for these books during that time in my life, but I knew I eventually wanted something more.

Of course, during this time, I also joined the smartphone minions and began wasting away in the land of scrolling. My mornings, especially when I started doing virtual assistant work, usually started with checking my email and jumping on the information superhighway first thing. I excused myself because I felt like I was in survival mode, but obviously, my habits weren’t doing me any favors in terms of spiritual growth, and I preferred not to think about the example I was giving my kids.

In her book Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, Tish Harrison Warren wrote about what she did when she realized she was beginning her days in a similar fashion:

…I decided for Lent that year I’d exchange routines: I’d stop waking up with my phone, and instead I’d make the bed, first thing. I also decided to spend the first few minutes after I made the bed sitting (on my freshly made bed) in silence. So I banished my smartphone from the bedroom.

My new Lenten routine didn’t make me wildly successful or cheerfully buoyant as some had promised, but I began to notice, very subtly, that my day was imprinted differently. The first activity of my day, the first move I made, was not that of a consumer, but that of a colaborer with God. Instead of going to a device for a morning fix of instant infotainment, I touched the tangible softness of our well-worn covers, tugged against wrinkled cotton, felt the hard wood beneath my bare feet. In the creation story, God entered chaos and made order and beauty. In making my bed I reflected that creative act in the tiniest, most ordinary way. In my small chaos, I made small order.

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, Tish Harrison Warren

So with these ideas in my back pocket, I have slowly made a morning routine for myself over the last five years.

What does a personal morning liturgy look like?

Before the kids get up, sometimes when they’re already awake, and before I touch my phone, I climb out of bed and go downstairs to our living room. There I curl up in a green armchair we got on clearance at Ikea and make my way through a stack of books that permanently resides in a basket beside it. The books have changed throughout these last few years because my morning liturgy is just as flexible as school morning time, but the general rhythm has been the same. And even though I don’t do it every single day, this is the first time in my life that I have consistently had a quiet time like this for this long. 

It has been a good thing. 

I’m sharing what my morning reading liturgy looks like here, but this is a very personal thing, so I’m not sharing this to say that I think everyone needs to do it this way. We all grow in different ways, and your way probably looks different than mine. Also, we can manage more in some seasons of life, while in others, not so much. For instance, despite my waxing poetic about what this time is for me right now and regretting my lack of it just a few years ago, I most likely would not have been able to do this when my children were very young. This routine is what I can manage right now in this season of life. 

The very first thing I do is light a candle. This small thing gives the time and space a sense of being set apart. It also indicates to my kids that mama is having her morning reading time, so if they need something, they may need to wait a bit (and my daughter also likes blowing it out at the end ?). Then I take a few deep breaths and bring my mind into God’s presence (as Brother Lawrence says), attempting to flush away all the thoughts and distractions pulling at my attention.

Over the last few years, my routine has been to follow the Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families from the Book of Common Prayer, so I begin by praying Psalm 51 from the morning prayers collectively for my family. This practice took me a while to get used to as I grew up in a church that frowned upon using pre-written prayers (aside from the Lord’s Prayer) or more traditional “high church” liturgy. However, in recent years, I’ve found a great deal of comfort in repeating these verses and prayers each and every day. 

I then begin going down the stack of books, starting with poetry. I recently finished a collection of Elizabeth Barret Browning’s poems and am now starting a book of blessings by John O’Donohue. 

That reading is followed by whatever book I am going through at the time that might fall into a “religious” or spiritual growth category, which is currently The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. I call these my “mentor” books and keep a list of this genre of books recommended in other books I have read or by someone I find particularly inspiring in the religious world. And while I’m not winning any records for speed reading, over the last five years, just by reading a small amount of these books each day, I have made my way through quite a few of the books on this list.

Some of these books are conveniently broken up into small sections that are perfect for reading each day, while I just go through a page or two with others. Another benefit to reading slowly like this is that I have more time to meditate on a section rather than reading a large chunk of it and losing essential parts.

I then move on to the daily office lectionary from the Book of Common Prayer. This practice includes a Psalm, a reading from the Old Testament, a reading from the New Testament, a reading from the Gospels for each day of the year, and special readings for feast or holy days. As I wrote above, I did not grow up in a church that followed any kind of traditional liturgy, and they actually frowned on this practice, so this has been a learning curve for me. Since adopting this rhythm for my own morning liturgy, though, I have loved going through the seasons of the church year and taking part in feast days during my morning routine. Revisiting sections of the Bible and stories from the life of Christ during a specific time of the year or going through the readings about a particular figure from the Bible on a specific date feels, in some ways, like meeting an old friend. If you’re not partial to the Anglican/Episcopal selections, I have a few other resources that provide some form of liturgy suggested below.

I then offer 1 Peter 1:3 as a prayer, followed by the Lord’s Prayer, and then the weekly Collect. In recent years, I’ve also been going through the prayers from The Power of a Praying Parent and The Power of a Praying Wife.

After that, I have more spontaneous prayer time, offering specific requests for my family, friends, and issues outside my immediate circle. Then I finish with the final prayer of the Daily Devotions and begin my day.

I often end up underlining and book-darting passages as I go, but I don’t want to interrupt that time to record anything in my commonplace book. Instead, as part of my “Sunday occupations,” I try to write these down on Sunday afternoons. I don’t always get to it, but I am glad when I do. This practice allows me to reflect on something that stood out to me earlier in the week, and I like that it also sets Sunday apart from other days. 

So this is what it looks like right now, though I’m sure this will change as it already has over the last five years. I have a few other books in mind that I’d like to work through after I finish this one, but right now, I’m trying to focus on what I’m taking from the current book instead of always looking to what I’ll do next, which is a bad habit of mine. This morning routine practice allows for growth in many ways!



You do not need to include any specific traditional liturgy in your routine, but I have enjoyed having it as part of mine. Here are a few resources that I have used at one time or another: 

  • The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle – This is a three-volume series that I read through consistently, usually doing at least one office per day when my children were very young. I would set my alarm for 11 am and 5 pm, and as soon as it went off, the kids knew that it was time for mama’s “office,” and she was going to a quiet place to pray. If you don’t have much time in your day to have personal reading time as outlined above, I can’t recommend these books enough.
  • The Book of Common Prayer (BCP – also available online) – I use the Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families from this book to lay out my morning liturgy. It also includes prayers for specific people and occasions.
  • Common Prayer – This is less formal than the BCP, but the liturgy takes more time each day. I like that it includes hymns and readings about modern Christians.
  • Celtic Daily Prayer – This comes from the Northumbrian Community of northern England and is a set of daily offices as well as a schedule of readings for an entire year. I have not used this, but I plan to try it at some point.

Bible Reading Schedules

I find having a reading schedule helpful as it allows me to make my way through the majority of the Bible and focuses on specific readings for feast and holy days during the liturgical year.

Books for Daily Reading

These books do not contain a specific form of liturgy but do offer daily readings, sometimes coinciding with the seasons of the church calendar. 


Poetry is another option in this category that I’ve adopted in recent years, reading one poem (or part of a poem if it’s a long one) each day. If you’re unsure where to start, you can look at the poetry suggestions on Susan Wise Bauer’s Well Educated Mind list.


  • Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore – I feel like this is a practical way to look at prayer when you’re either feeling in a rut or just aren’t sure how to do it. It helped make my prayer time more meaningful, and I especially appreciated it paired with her book Praying God’s Word.
  • The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O’Martian – This provides 31 specific prayers to offer for your children throughout the month. Though I don’t necessarily agree with everything she says, I love her emphasis on the power of prayer. A friend who likes this book has also recommended Praying the Scriptures for your Children by Jodie Berndt, which I plan to go through next.
  • The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Martian – This has the same outline as the one above but instead focuses on praying for your husband.

“Mentor” Books

These are spiritual formation books or books on the topic of Christianity that have stood out to me, and I found to be especially inspiring.

Cindy Rollins, who I consider the expert on Morning Time, also offers a course for moms who aren’t sure where to start when putting together a Morning Time or reading routine for themselves. It’s available in the summer, but she also offers mentorship in this area in her Patreon account as well!

Do you have a daily reading routine or morning liturgy of your own? If so, what do you include?

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  1. Thank you for sharing this! It inspired me to write out my own Mother’s Morning Time list! 🙂

    1. I’m glad it was helpful! It really is a great way to start each day!

  2. Thanks, inspiring post and wonderful encouragement.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I think you would also enjoy “hearing God” but Dallas Willard if you haven’t read it.

    1. I’m not far into this Willard book, but I’m enjoying it so far. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. How much time do you allow for your morning time? Are your children around in the area when you’re reading? We have a relatively small house and my children are earlier and talkative risers.

    1. It usually takes me about 20 to 30 minutes, thought that can definitely vary depending on how much time I “feel” like I have. I may cut it short if someone is talking to me or I got a late start today or there’s an urgent need elsewhere. But the routine I have laid out here is about that long. Sometimes my kids are in the area, but they usually know that if I’m sitting in the green chair and the candle is lit, they need to wait unless it’s absolutely urgent. I don’t know if this is the “right” way to do it (vs including them somehow), but it’s the way that allows this time to be more peaceful for me. If you have the option of maybe going into your bedroom by yourself and letting the know this is your time to be alone with God, that’s something I’ve thought about doing as well.

  5. This is such a helpful post and I love the candle idea! Both for me and as a sign to the little folk… I’ve been getting a bit bored with my bible reading schedule so I think I might add in a few other spiritual books as you’ve done to break it up. Excited to get started!

    1. The candle has definitely helped with keeping the time a little less interrupted. 🙂

  6. This was timely since I was just organizing my mother’s morning basket yesterday! I love Jodie Berndt’s books and include them in my morning time. She recently also released Praying the Scriptures for Your Life which I have been enjoying. I love that you include CM volumes in your morning time , i think I may switch from reading her at night, so many lovely suggestions here!

    1. I will definitely look into that book – thank you for suggesting it!

  7. Thank you for this! It’s just beautiful. I’ve been working on my own morning reading routine this summer before we start kindergarten this fall with my oldest. I fell off the last couple of weeks with some minor health issues but this post is inspiring me to get back into it! It really starts my day off on the right foot. I appreciate the resources you suggested!

    1. I know I struggle getting back into this routine when I miss it for a few days, but I’m always glad when I am intentional in doing it!

  8. Your post has inspired me to get back to it. I used to take morning time pretty seriously with reading and prayer, but life happens with family and homeschooling, seasons change, and I have not been investing in my time with God these days as I once did, always using the excuse that this was my only time before the kids woke up to work on things for schooling and homemaking. How can I help my DH lead my family and point them to Jesus if I’m not devoting time to Him on my own? BUT God’s grace is sufficient and His mercies are new every morning! Well, it’s time to fix this! Thank you for revisiting this post and sharing what you do. I’m excited to get back to it!

  9. I never had a name for this, thanks. I usually read the Bible, currently I try to get through 10 pages as I’m trying to read the entire Bible in 3 months. Then, currently I’m reading The Power of a Praying Wife followed by one of CMs books. I have been trying to decide on a good poetry book to add in. I’ll do this as long as I can until my little one wants to read with me. He usually wakes up wanting to play or just cuddle with me. If he wants to cuddle, I may read him his Bible after I read mine. If I don’t do it then, I’ll read his after I’ve read all my books and then we end with a Bible song and prayer together.

  10. Nicole McCormick says:

    I enjoy “Every Moment Holy” by McKelvey and published by the Rabbit Room.

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